Esports: Tournament Organising
The Business of Streaming Esports
We are absolutely sure you have noticed now that Esports are huge. And if not, is it nice under the rock where you live? How did you manage to have internet in there, to read this article?
Esports has long ago broken the barriers of being just a niche activity for some gamers, and it has also become entertainment, again, not only for some, not even for all gamers, but for anyone. If you think of your favourite terminally-online celebrities, it is highly likely that they have a Twitch (or similar) account, and at least casually will livestream themselves playing Video Games.
In fact, this has become such a phenomenon, that many believe that this will lead to a shift in the way Media is distributed, even leading to changes as big as IP monetization and advertising. We don’t want to bore you to sleep with the details of it, however, this event is on the rise, business-wise moves a lot of big pieces on the chessboard.
You may not want to forget that in 2014, Amazon bought Twitch for nearly $1 billion, though some business analysts questioned the move. Today, Twitch has approximately 5 million active viewers who spend 106 minutes each day watching live gaming, which ranks higher than prime time cable TV networks like CNN.
All of this might feel like it is too much about business, and so, too distant from you, from Exeedme, from our goal of Community Building, however, there are two dots to connect here, this billion-dollar industry, and all of us, viewers, players — doing it as a hobby or professionally.
Now, if this is something you’re interested in, you might be interested in another bridge that connects these two dots, Tournaments and Competitions. Long gone are the days of the first ever Esports Tournament back in 1972 (an extravagance, for the time), with a modest prize of a year subscription to Rolling Stone. Now this is not so exotic. It’s easier to people or entities organising Tournaments, some doing it in a professional level and others doing it in as a hobby.
Let’s start with the basics. There’s different tournament organising formats, and this rings especially true when it comes to funding. Currently, the kind of funding a tournament can get defines a lot the kind of tournament you will see.
In practice, this means, most competitions are oriented toward views (streaming), and if you’re wondering why, don’t worry, we were just about to answer. Because the more impressions and engagement you can get on the competition the bigger sponsorships you attract, and with sponsorships your funding troubles are all but solved.
However, what does this mean for the entire format of a competition?
Furthermore, what does it mean when most competitions are leaning toward this format?
When you orient your tournament toward eyes upon it, the bigger prize pools you can fund, the bigger production budget you will get and so, probably the best tools you can get to give a great experience to the audience at home.
So, what is the downside? In order to attract sponsorships, you need to make your tournament fit certain standards.
The first and foremost standard in a lot of these tournaments is to attract professional players and/or teams. Bonus points if these are famous players too. This brings a high profile to any tournament, and consequently a lot of attention.
These players get in these competitions by invitation, or even get paid to attend, which means that non-professional players go into a competition that is full of professional athletes.
Now, we’re not saying it won’t be cool to be rubbing metaphorical elbows (since most of these competitions don’t happen in a physical space, and take place just online) with professionals and even some people you see as rock stars — not to mention it would be absolutely legendary to beat them! — however, realistically, what are the odds of that happening? If you didn’t say “Slim”, you might be a little high on brag or optimism, which, good for you, but, we’re gonna need to add a little layer of reality here.
If there’s room filled with superstars, it might get a little too crowded for regular Joes and Janes like you and us. And that’s the reality of these tournaments, the norm is that it gets hard or virtually impossible for people not inserted in a professional team to attend.
And this generates a cycle. You can’t participate because you are not a professional, you cannot make a name for yourself because you could not participate, you don’t have a name, you cannot participate, and on and on it goes.
So, is it Game Over if right now you’re reading this and not signed into a professional team?
There’s a different way to make tournaments work. Not better, not worse, but very different.
Crowdfunding: Room for Everyone
There’s all kinds of Tournament Organisers. Some do it in their free time, as a passion or to break an extra buck, however, there’s a lot of folks and bigger institutions that are organising tournaments full-time as a way to make a living. These are operations on a bigger scale, and as such, they will be mostly relying on the above-mentioned model. However, don’t underestimate the small guy, the underdog, the people who do it for the sake of it. These guys are savvy and have some elbow grease. They are the ones who are moved by the power of Gaming Fever and Community Support.
Of course, the pains of the dynamics brought about by Tournaments don’t affect just the Players trying to make a career out of their talent and work, it also affects the ones organising it..
Organising a Tournament, is an herculean task, filled with challenges and obstacles, and this goes regardless if you are an amateur or a professional. But naturally, an amateur Tournament Organiser will have many more challenges to add to the lack of experience.
The amount of labour that goes into organising and managing any kind of event is not a small challenge.
It is indeed a huge chore in terms of intellectual and physical labour, from soft skills such as networking, technological managing, to fundraising. On top of everything, there are few platforms where the most “simple” things such as results reporting are done automatically, which mandatorily implies that to grow a competition, you need more support or “manpower”, otherwise the scale (and the number of teams on each competition) is limited to the number of tournament managers you get.
All the help, solutions and formulas that independent tournament organisers can get are more than welcome. And that is where Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing come in.
Brand Sponsorships can do very impressive things, but don’t underestimate the power of a good Community.
Tournaments funded by Crowdsourcing of strong communities have the power to breed an equal grounding for anyone to shoot their shot in the Esports arena. Any amateur can show what they are worth and how far their skills can go against any professional that will dare compete!
Making space for amateurs is vital to allow the discovery of new talents. It enriches us all to not have the best and the brightest stay sad and lost in their rooms and basements, but shining in competitions!
That’s why competitions such as Exeedme’s Revolution Tournament is indispensable for, not only the current Esports environment, but also the future of it.
The Revolution Tournament had a prize pool of 100 000$, coming from community Crowdfunding! So, do you know what that means? This means this Tournament came all completely Sponsor-free. As such, there was nobody telling the Tournament Organisers how to run their Party, total and complete freedom to thrive.
The Future of Tournaments
Exeedme is working to be a force of empowerment for Gamers and Community so that they can mutually fortify and solidify each other.
Exeedme is a group of Gamers building for Gamers, and our goal is to have available the bigger amount of tools at our (but most important): at your disposal, so you can create something amazing alongside us.
Did this little piece make you want to join us in the Tournament World, more specifically, to dip your toes in an Exeedme Tournament, why don’t you take a look at the Exeedme Tournament Grants? And if you feel inclined, why don’t you throw your name in our hat?